Naming servers after where they are located is generally a bad idea

I’m often amazed that people name their servers after where they are physically located (room, floor, building number etc). Do I even need to explain why? The machine’s physical location is a detail that DHCP/DNS/IP has mercifully abstracted away from me, and computers can…like…be moved!


Paul Stovell
I agree. There is only one situation where I think this is a good idea: printers. It’s very helpful to see printers named "123-ZEBRA-ST-L12-RM2-HPLJ55". It’s just a shame that printers are so hopeless to use.
31/10/2006 4:34:00 AM
Ken Schaefer
Have you considered that there might be good reasons for naming servers this way in certain situations?

Typically servers are not moved - and when your operations monitoring tool (e.g. MOM 2005) tells you that the print spooler service on AUS-PRD-VIC-35COLLINS-1 isn’t running or AUS-DEV-NSW-KILLARA-5 hasn’t reported in, then the operator has a good idea on how to dispatch the call, and some idea of which users are impacted.

So those names might not be so easy for end users to remember. But what’s the alternative? 1000 or 2000 (or more) servers named after Greek gods? How easy is that to remember after the first 5 or 10 servers?

There are generally good reasons why things are done a certain way, and just because it doesn’t make sense to you doesn’t mean that there are no good reasons why things like that are done. It may just be that you need to look into the issue a bit more and examine the pluses and minuses of the alternatives.
5/11/2006 12:01:00 AM
Joseph Cooney
Surely Ken maintaining some sort of mapping between machine names and physical locations is better than naming them this way (and presumably also necessary anyway for asset tracking purposes)?
6/11/2006 5:07:00 AM
Joseph Cooney
I’ve thought about it more Ken - if you say as an infrastructure person that that makes your life easier then I’m prepared to accept that I may not have given the issue enough thought. Perhaps I should have named the post "Naming servers after where they are located seems like a bad idea to ME since where they are physically located is irrelevant to me and would seem to be potentially misleading since the location can change" but I thought my initial one was punchier.
6/11/2006 6:08:00 AM